In our Gospel today, John the Baptist is calling for everyone to repent as the kingdom is at hand. This is a call for all of us even today as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas, the memorial celebration of His birth, of God becoming man.
When we repent, we are willing to leave our old self, thus, only when we are pure of heart can we receive God in our life. When we prepare for God’s coming, we change our crooked ways, making straight the path of the Lord so He can truly guide us towards Him.
Baptism for John the Baptist is a serious act of repentance and amendments of one’s life. In the gospel, John called a group of Pharisees and Sadducees as brood of vipers for they were not really serious and genuine to change lives and follow the Lord. This is a constant reminder for all of us in this season of advent, we have to do what we ought to do while we wait for Christmas.
In this season of Advent, we do a lot of personal and community preparations and these are done differently as there are many forms and ways of preparing and of making straight the path which the Lord passes. In this first week of Advent, we normally start cleaning and decorating our homes and work places with Christmas decorations signaling that we are ready to celebrate the event. But as we listen carefully to the message of John the Baptist in our gospel reading, preparation is more than we think and do, it is the preparation of oneself, of the total self.
As Christians, we are always invited to look into our very own lives and assess our attitude on people and material things around us. John was referred to as the voice in the wilderness, the voice to listen and reckon with. If we want to experience real salvation, let us prepare truly and have our crooked ways corrected, make our crooked ways straight. Make the rough paths smooth for us to pass through, and make straight the path, the path to holiness, the path that Christians take and walk by.
Let us radically change our proud, egoistic and self-centered attitudes; let us change our narrow-mindedness and self-indulging lifestyles, our sinful and indifferent ways of relating with the others. John is asking us to repent and return to God, likewise an invitation from Jesus to change our very old self and be born in the spirit of baptism. Let us change our old ways of living to new ways of living, hence, have an authentic renewal in the Lord so we can produce good fruits, good deeds, good lives.
Let us pause and pray, reflect and ask ourselves:
Have I listened to John the Baptist’s call for repentance and followed his call?
Have I repented and returned to God?
What preparations have I done personally in this season of Advent?
Have I changed my attitude in life and my lifestyle for the better?
Can I say that I had already prepared to receive Jesus in my life?
Am I taking the straight path of Christian life?
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, even if we are not worthy, still you called us to yourself and have loved us. May we always be faithful to our baptismal promises and every time we profess our faith. Strengthen us always so we can follow your will and commands faithfully. We may not be worthy to untie your sandals like John the Baptist, but you had embraced us in your love and mercy and we thank you for that. Help us to be always mindful of what is good and perfect in this season of Advent so we may receive its gifts and readily enjoy the blessings of Christmas. This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.